Beyond their differences, the discourses of feminism have provided an alternative basis for how to be a woman. They promoted a series of narrative constructions capable of transforming the lack of a feminine essence into a spectrum of possibilities. Women have converted their universal solidarity into a force that is not now going to recede.
There is nothing similar in the field of masculinity. Masculinity is an increasingly restricted and decadent topic, to the point of sometimes being confused with something toxic. Being a man is a problem, which it has always been. Only now social pressure increasingly disapproves of its behavior and its impeachment begins. The parents of male children don’t know how to raise them and what values to instill in them. Men who continue to adhere rigidly to conventional norms have a great chance of being victims of the mortal element in which these norms are sustained: manhood as a manic and ultimately suicidal enterprise. The “privilege” of being a man may end up being the tomb of the privileged.
The masculine imaginary has been restricted to such an extent (values such as camaraderie, gentleness, noble virility, towards their own gender as well as the feminine, no longer exist) that in the alchemy only the residue of violence remains. There are no words to name the remaining options. Either it is “a real man” or otherwise the suspicion arises that he is not one, and those who are forced to enter the caricaturized definition of masculinity suffer even more than those who authorize themselves to try out other ways of behaving. Women have always been responsible for processing the emotional work of men, who usually do not know how to talk about themselves. Many come to the psychoanalyst saying: “My wife told me to come.” This is something I always take very seriously when someone shows up in this way. His wife is probably right to send him.
In Freud’s time, women rejected their own femininity. That has begun to change. Men, on the other hand, remain bogged down in the affirmation of virility through the rejection of the feminine, turning around the paradox of subjecting women by force or becoming slaves of their satisfaction. The misogynist discourse is a powerful political instrument. Trump has known how to make use of it like nobody else. “Make America Great Again” is a formula that triumphed because “Make Man Great Again” can be heard in it. This was perfectly demonstrated in his campaign and throughout his first presidential term: it was a case of making masculine supremacy clear and returning to man his questioned greatness, using all the artillery of obscenities that the populace loves.
Obama was not only the first black president. He also respected, albeit timidly, the values that are affirmed beyond patriarchy. That is why Trump came up with the formula that is now so sucessful. Bolsonaro is his disciple and in Spain Vox has made homophobia the best argument for the defence of national unity.
It is curious how sexuality and the political are knotted together (as Foucault announced), and how the promotion of normative and reactionary heterosexuality wins votes for the cause of the little fascist that almost everyone carries within them.